Sunday, May 29, 2016

Germany – Day 2 – Oberferrieden

We woke up and had a “traditional” Bavarian breakfast. I use the quote mainly because I couldn’t tell if Joe and Yanni were making this up as an excuse to pound liters of beer for breakfast. Yanni’s mother got up early to make us a wonderfully delicious home-made breakfast before we headed out on our adventures. A traditional Bavarian breakfast includes playing yodeling and oom-pa-pa Bavarian music loudly on the stereo, eating weisswurst (white sausages), large pretzels with sweet mustard, potatoes, and this amazing cheese spread called “Obatzda”. Obatzda is a Bavarian specialty that combines two-thirds aged Camembert and ones-third butter. Apparently, everyone’s grandmother makes it differently by adding a little of this and that, so you’ll never get the same one twice, but it’s truly delicious and I plan to make this myself. It’s life-changing cheese (but then again, which cheese isn’t?!?!?!?!) Then, as I said, there are liters of beer involved. In the morning. It was going to be a long day.

We hopped in the car and headed over to Burgthann, another small village with a cool castle-like structure. We climbed all the staircases and took lots of photos of the view. Really beautiful country here in the hillls of Bavaria. As Joe and I were walking past a random doorway, these women were getting ready to open some sort of shop inside. They yelled at Joe and somehow talked us into moving this bookcase/desk thing for them. The thing had to have weighed 500 pounds or more. Neither of us were expecting that kind of effort, but they were sweet little ladies and Joe and I are chivalrous strapping young men who were smart enough to fake like it was as light as a feather. Hahahaha
We continued the drive to the Ludwig-Donau-Main-Kanal (Ludwig Canal), which links the Danube basin with the Rhine basin. This doesn’t sound impressive, but when I explain what it is, it will get exponentially more impressive. King Ludwig I (not the “mad” one build this canal between 1836 and 1846 and used horses to pull barges full of goods more than 60km in the hills of Bavaria. Sounding more impressive? It’s gets more impressive when I focus on the word “hills”. The hills were a bit of an engineering challenge since canals generally need a flat area to traverse, since pulling barges up waterfalls isn’t ideal. So King Ludwig moved MASSIVE amounts of earth to basically “fill in the gaps” between hills. Think about how much dirt you’d have to re-locate to fill in a gap between two small mountains, now multiply that by like 100 mountains. NOW, it’s impressive. There are  number of cute tiny locks and dams along the route, but it’s really a neat engineering feat. The canals are basically abandoned, but a few times  a year, during festivals, they break out a team of horses and pull the 70 year old “Elfriede” boat up and down the canal for fun.

That was about all the time I had for fun this morning as I had to catch a train to go to my work conference. I thanked Yanni’s lovely, generous, and hospitable parents for everything. Then we walked the five blocks back to the train station, so I could head back to Frankfurt. Yanni and Joe even accompanied me part of the way, so they could have some fun time after touring me around Bavaria. Seriously, thank you both so much, Yanni and Joe, I can’t wait to see you two again. Possibly next year during conference time!!!!

I made it to my hotel and was amused to find these hilarious pillow sculptures they made on my bed. I was pretty underwhelmed with their work on these. I’ve seen waaaay more impressive towel, pillow, and blanket sculptures at other places. But let’s be honest – I don’t usually stay at places fancy enough for any sore of sculptures to make appearances, so I shouldn’t complain or make fun. Hahaha

I’ll point out two additional weird things about my hotel, however: The buttons on the elevator aren’t in any real order. I understand the words for basement and lobby don’t start with the same letters in German as they do in English, but at least the numbers should be in a consistent order. Bizarre.

I also found out (when I pushed the wrong button on the elevator) that my hotel has beer in the vending machine in the basement. Hard to complain about THAT…

There was a quick happy hour at the conference hotel, so I walked down this creepy dark path for a mile to drink some drinks and network with some really smart people. You don’t care about the conference, I assure you.

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